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Home Improvement Guide 2007
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Ideas and suggestions for your next project, from simple plans to designing extensive renovations.
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Designing your perfect new bath
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The master bath
"Which room in the house is the ultimate harbor? It's the master bath," says Ann M. Morris, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., master kitchen and bath designer. Research, she says, shows that American consumers would spend between $2,500 and $7,500 on products in a remodeling or redecorating of their bathrooms. Of those surveyed, 30 percent said they would be willing to spend more than $10,000 to convert their bath space into a relaxing sanctuary. "Bathroom remodels add value to your home and can generate up to a 90 percent return on your investment," Morris says.

When redoing a master bath, Morris uses a free-standing tub. These tubs vary in depth and have a width of 60 to 72 inches. Another popular option is the Japanese soaking tub, which is four feet by four feet and 32 inches deep. It can be built into the ground or on a platform with one step. Morris also recommends a free-standing vanity over built-ins and likes to leave six inches of space on each side of the vanity. Bowls can be dual or single, rising or vessels. The top of the vanities should be granite, marble and quartz, and come in fun colors like red and blue. Mirrors with frames can be hung and subject to individual tastes. She is seeing more porcelain tile -- large ones at 24 inches square, with non-slip surfaces.

Many homeowners want to bring a spa-like feel to the master bathroom. "In a Zen-type spa environment, clean simple lines and the use of natural materials would be needed," says Hilsabeck. "With a more traditional-type spa environment, more textures, traditional curved lines and design elements and carvings would be used."

When traveling for business or pleasure, people seem to want to bring their hotel spa experience home with them and add it to their bathroom environment. Hilsabeck says that, depending on the size of the bathroom, type of product and materials, one could spend $10,000 and up to $100,000 to create the final outcome a homeowner desires.

The powder room
"The cabinets that were used 20 years ago in powder rooms are gone," says Morris. "Today, many home owners are even beyond pedestal sinks. What is being used are free-standing pieces that could be sculpted like granite. This base may have a vessel sink on it with a wall-mounted faucet." The faucet should be the focal point of your bath, designers say. It's where the eye goes first.

-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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